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Jobs number out and very disappointing - UE went "down," but job growth was far too slow

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ADP was predicting 206,000 new jobs but the official number today is a mere 120,000 though the unemployment rate did drop. That does show you how bogus some of the numbers are because the jobs increase was well below the "break even" number for the month (i.e., below the number need to make the unemployment rate drop). As we can see from the UK example, harsh austerity isn't the answer, but maintaining the status quo isn't the answer either.

We can't afford the same old, same old but that's what we're stuck with today.

Job creation remained weak in the U.S. during November, with just 120,000 new positions created, though the unemployment rate slid to 8.6 percent, a government report showed Friday.

The rate fell from the previous month's 9.0 percent, a move which in part reflected a drop in those looking for jobs. The participation rate dropped to 64 percent, from 64.2 percent in October, representing 315,000 fewer job-seekers.

The actual employment level increased by 278,000. The total amount of those without a job fell to 13.3 million.
Note from John: The Atlantic's Derek Thompson explains how the unemployment rate could drop when the number of new jobs added wasn't enough to decrease the unemployment rate. The quick answer: They use two different metrics to measure the unemployment rate and the number of new jobs added:
There are about 150 million people with jobs in the U.S., so it's impossible to measure every hiring and firing perfectly. The government relies on two imperfect surveys. To get the jobs-added figure, we count hirings and firings on payrolls. To get the unemployment rate and the employment/population rate, we conduct a survey of U.S. households.

The household survey says we added 300,000 jobs last month. The other survey says the private sector added only 140,000 jobs in November. Half of those jobs came from retail (it's shopping season) and health care (which is always growing). Meanwhile, the government lost 20,000 jobs. The result was a 120,000 net gain.
So the "unemployment rate" is based on the household survey, which says we added 300,000 jobs last month, more than the break-even point (which is, depending who you talk to, somewhere between 200k and 300k jobs added in one month) - thus the unemployment rate went down.

But the official "jobs added" figure is based on the number of hirings and firing on payrolls that month. And the number for last month was an anemic 120,000 new jobs added, not enough to decrease the unemployment rate.  So, as Chris said,  the numbers are a bit bogus.

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